Week 13, Colts at Steelers
4th-and-10, 2:49 remaining in 4th quarter, Down by 35
The Colts went for it on a 4th-and-10 on their 45. It doesn’t matter to NYT 4th Down Bot.

No matter what happens on this play, the Colts will almost certainly lose the game. In situations like these, what happens on this down is basically inconsequential, so there's no real recommendation here. (In fact, I’m taking a break from the game for a spot of Earl Grey.) Here’s the breakdown for the Colts’ scenario.

Option Chance of converting
Chance of winning
Before play
After play Change
Go for it4th and 10, own 45 30% <1% <1% -
Punt <1% <1% -
Field goal try72 yard kick (est.) <1% <1% <1% -
What coaches usually do
Punt 90% of the time
Go for it 10% of the time
Field goal try -
Based on about 1,925 fourth downs in similar situations since 2001.
What happened

Charlie Whitehurst pass to the middle to Donte Moncrief for 33 yards to the Pit22. Charlie Whitehurst pass to the middle to Donte Moncrief for 33 yards to the Pit22.

Where did these numbers come from?

To estimate a team’s chances of winning, I use a mathematical model that accounts for a whole lot of variables — including the difference in score, the time remaining in the game, and the number of timeouts each team has left. On top of that, I have models for the likelihood that a team makes a field goal and the likelihood that it will convert a first down.

By combining all of this information, I can come up with the best decision a team can make, according to math.

If you want even more details about the numbers behind my decisions, my full model is available on GitHub. Help make me better!